The WPIAL had scheduled a Feb. 21 hearing on charges that Brentwood High School students used racial slurs while running onto the basketball court wearing banana costumes during a Feb. 3 game against Monessen. The Mon Valley NAACP head said she’s conducting her own investigation.
Though the results of the hearing were not available by Courier deadline, news of the incident, including video, made headlines around the country and was even reported across the Atlantic by London’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Monessen fans allege the three costumed students taunted the mostly Black visiting team with chants of “cotton picker” and “monkey.” Brentwood, according the latest census, is 97 percent White.
Monessen Coach Joe Salvino said some of his players claimed both Brentwood fans and players made racist comments, but he said he didn’t hear any. But Monessen School District Superintendent Linda Marcolini said she wants a public apology for what she called a “borderline hate crime.”
Brentwood School District officials said they have dealt with the students, and in statements posted on the district’s website on Feb. 8 and again on Feb. 13, said their investigation had found nothing to support the allegations, and that no “fans, officials or team representatives” complained of any such behavior at the time.
“The two students who attended the game dressed as bananas have worn the costumes to previous events, including basketball games. But when they created a disturbance running past the opposing bench and onto the court, school officials said they were ejected from the game and have been disciplined, but would not say how. A third student was also ejected from the game… Brentwood school and security personnel did not hear any racist or similarly derogatory remarks made toward the Monessen players or their fans,” the statement said.
NAACP Mon Valley Branch President Marguerite Johnson said she is conducting her own investigation, but declined comment until all her interviews are completed. She estimated she would have a definitive statement on the incident in about two weeks.
NAACP Pittsburgh Branch President M. Gayle Moss did not return calls for comment.
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